WILDLIFE

Badger encounter: How to stay safe

Jun 1, 2024, 7:30 PM | Updated: Jun 3, 2024, 8:00 pm

An American Badger leans against a branch. badgers are known for being aggressive, but staying safe...

The badger is a protected native Utah mammal. They have been known to be vicious and aggressive, but are they a threat to people? (Canva)

(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s springtime in Utah and animals are abundant. The American badger is a protected mammal native to Utah. They can be vicious and aggressive, but are they a threat to people? 

It’s likely you don’t know what to do if you see one. Game mammals program coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife, Darren DeBloois says that’s for a reason.  

“We don’t interact with them very often just by nature where they live. You’re more likely to encounter them in a more rural setting, you know, Sagebrush kind of settings” said DeBloois.

The badgers’ main prey is small mammals like ground squirrels and other rodents. If there is a lot of their prey in urban areas, they may be tempted to venture out of their normal territory. But even then, it’s unlikely you’d see them because they are nocturnal. 

DeBloois said that while badgers can be aggressive and territorial, especially with young or prey, it’s typically not a problem, just keep your distance.

“In general, people see badgers and just keep their distance … It’s very unusual for a badger to try to come after a person,” he said. 

Dangerous to what then? 

While it is very rare for people to interact with a badger let alone be attacked by one, the mammal still causes problems. 

“Usually, the biggest concerns or the conflicts we see with badgers are badgers digging places where people don’t want them to dig,” said DeBloois. 

Horses stepping into those holes tend to be the most common issue. Chickens and other small enclosed animals are a tempting meal for badgers. Animals bigger than a badger have nothing to worry about, even cats and dogs seem to handle a badger just fine. 

For more information on badgers and other native Utah animals, you can visit wildawareutah.org. 

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Badger encounter: How to stay safe